Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 30 November 2004
Page: 106


Senator Ludwig asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 29 July 2004:

(1) Have any funds earmarked in the 2004-05 Budget for biometric technology been paid to contractors; if so: (a) which contractors; (b) what was the contract for; and (c) when did the contract commence.

(2) For each contract, which department will benefit from the biometric technology.

(3) How were the tenders selected.

(4) Who was on the selection panel for each of the tenders.

(5) Are tenders being sought to provide biometric security technology for the following areas: (a) critical infrastructure; (b) immigration; (c) the Australian Customs Service; and (d) the Australian Federal Police.

(6) If tenders are being sought, can a list be provided of contracts currently sent to tender.

(7) If tenders are not being sought, are there any plans to contract out tenders for these areas; if so, what for and when; if not, why not.

(8) Is the Government committed to introduce this technology on a wide scale in order to improve security of Commonwealth departments; if so, what steps has the Government taken to ensure this is achieved.

(9) (a) When does the Government intend to implement biometric security measures in Australian airports; and (b) what is the expected cost.

(10) (a) Which department will have overall control of the biometric technologies within the airports; (b) what will the cost be for information technology support; (c) is this an additional and annual cost; and (d) is the Government aware of any intellectual property issues surrounding this technology.


Senator Ellison (Minister for Justice and Customs) —The Attorney-General has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The Australian Government committed $9.7 million in the 2004-05 Budget towards a package of research and development for the use of biometrics at the Australian border by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Australian Customs Service (Customs) and the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA). The Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner (OFPC) is also a valuable participant in the development of this technology. The results of this cross-portfolio research and development program will inform decisions about implementing this technology in the future.

The contractors paid from 1/7/04 - 28/8/04 are set out as follows:

DFAT: Yes

(a)

Unisys

(b)

Support for the Biometric Research and Development Project

(c)

12 August 2002

Customs: Yes

(a)

Cognitec Systems

Magnetic Automation

Candle ICT Recruitment

(b)

Face recognition software maintenance and support for the Biometric Research and Development Project

Hardware installation for the Biometric Research and Development Project

Tri-agency joint program manager for the Biometric Research and Development Project

(c)

5 July 2002

July 2002

13 July 2004

DIMIA: Yes

(a)

Jebel Consulting Group Pty Ltd

Jebel Consulting Group Pty Ltd

PAXUS Australia Pty Ltd

Candle ICT Recruit-ment

(b)

DIMIA Program manager for the Biometric Research and Development Project

DIMIA Business Architect for the Biometric Research and Development Project

DIMIA Solution Architect for the Biometric Research and Development Project

Tri-agency joint program manager for the Biometric Research and Development Project

(c)

22 September 2003

6 April 2004

1 July 2004

13 July 2004

OFPC: No

(2) N/A for the research and development project outlined at (1) above.

(3) DFAT, Customs and DIMIA have adhered to the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines for the procurement of the contracted services:

DFAT undertook a competitive evaluation process

Customs undertook a competitive evaluation process and directly engaged contractors.

DIMIA directly engaged contractors.

(4) DFAT: John Osborne- Director Passport Systems and Technology, Terry Hartmann- IT Manager, Mark Wallis- IT Adviser

Customs: For the evaluation process - Fiona Fraser- former Director Traveller Strategies, Matthew Bannon- former Manager Traveller Strategies and John Potter- former Manager Traveller Strategies. N/A for the direct engagements

DIMIA: N/A

(5) (a) - (b) N/A for the research and development project outlined at (1) above.

(c) No. Customs conducted an open Request for Proposal procurement process for a Strategic Partner for the development of automated border control in late 2003, which resulted in a Head Agreement being signed with SAGEM Australasia Pty Ltd in May 2004 (see SENATE Question on Notice No. 3102).

(d) The AFP has not sought any tenders for biometric security technology.

DFAT: Yes

(6) DFAT tender processes are underway for Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and the acquisition of Chips for the Australian Passport. A tender process is being developed for the integration of facial biometrics in passport issuing and processing systems.

(7) N/A for the research and development project outlined at (1) above.

(8) Individual agencies have applied various levels and types of biometric technology to security purposes where their risk analysis and risk management practices have indicated this is the most effective and efficient type of security procedure to apply to treat the security risks identified. However, for many agencies biometric technology is not a cost effective risk treatment measure. This may change as technology matures.

(9) (a) - (b) As outlined at (1) above, the Government is trialling biometric technology for international travellers through the package of research and development for the use of biometrics at the Australian border by DFAT, Customs and DIMIA. The results of this cross-portfolio research and development program will inform decisions about implementing this technology in the future.

(10) (a) Currently Customs is the only agency trialling biometric technologies within airports.

(b) Information technology support for current trialling of biometric technologies within airports by Customs is estimated to cost $6300 per month.

(c) No. This cost of information technology support is a component of the funding allocated to Customs as part of the cross-portfolio package outlined at (1) above.

(d) Yes.